Post-Westboro: Palin Plays the Victim

March 3rd, 2011 at 8:21 am | 27 Comments |

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Following the Supreme Court’s decision in the Westboro Baptist case, Sarah Palin reacted with characteristic thoughtfulness.

She tweeted, “common sense & decency absent as wacko ‘church’ allowed hate msgs spewed@ soldiers’ funerals but we can’t invoke God’s name in public square.”

Put aside the fact that 8 of the 9 justices, including Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Thomas, and Justice Scalia were in the majority.  That is an issue Palin might address at some later point.

More interesting is her reference to the “public square”. What exactly is she talking about?

We can’t invoke God’s name in the public square?


Don’t we do it all the time?

Didn’t she just do it?

Don’t a plurality, or maybe a majority, of Americans accept some reference to God in our public life?

The fact is, we invoke God’s name and refer to Him constantly in political life.

So what is her beef?

Does she want more references to God in our debates about tax and health policy?

Does she want to reference God in abortion policy debates, even though the pro-life community has tried for decades to demonstrate the truth of their position via human reason alone?

What’s left for her? Is there much more than allowing for prayer in schools and discrimination against homosexuals on religious grounds?

In some ways it is unfair to single out Palin. Mike Huckabee was a regular offender on this front in 2008. But in the end it is worth asking these candidates how their religiously clothed public square would be any different than today’s.

When Fr. Neuhaus coined this phrase thirty years ago he was diagnosing a particular problem in a sophisticated manner. Too often today, politicians like Palin cheaply deploy it to encourage and benefit from a politics of victimhood.

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27 Comments so far ↓


    Sarah Palin is a self-serving moronic hypocrite who doesn’t even understand the first amendment, along with pretty much everything else.

    Stop giving her even more attention.

    Pretty please.

  • andydp

    Can we ease up on Palin articles ? This is just another tweet by a twit who has once again proven she still has no clue. We can be thankful she’s limited to 140 characters…

    If I read the Westboro signs right, there’s plenty of God references in those public squares. Please do not construe this as an affirmation of the Westboro scum.

  • TerryF98

    Most thinking Americans have tuned the Wassilla Hillbilly out, they are just ignoring her.

    Please Frum Forum do the same, please don’t give this moron any air time.

  • anniemargret

    Well, I would like to agree with the above commentators, but frankly, I think it is still highly appropriate and in fact, essential, that there is discussion about Sarah Palin . She is, after all, a force for the religious right, and TPs, whose voice is still, undeservedly, admired by millions. She is still on national TV, Internet, radio, and in print.

    She is still teasing to be POTUS. As long as she stays in this arena, as long as she gets the airtime she wants, we as the public citizenry of the US have the right, duty, to criticize her as we would any other candidate, or potential candidate.

    No, she will not run. That would take hard work, and that is something Sarah has bypassed most of her life, as we all know already. But she will continue to inject her ideas, thoughts, desires upon millions of Americans, and for the Republicans stirring up the waters badly for them.

    So hey….. keep on keeping on. As long as she has something to say, we can debate what she says and why she says it and why her followers blindly follow her lead with impunity. It is a phenomenon – one not to be ignored.

  • Raskolnik

    And tell Vecchione his services are no longer required, while you’re at it.

    Annie, I agree with you in principle, but for now I think there is no productive way to pay attention to her. Emotions on both sides are so raw; let the GOP nominate Huckabee, or her, then get trashed in the general election. That is the moment to really examine Palin, her reaction and response. Until then it’s just feeding the beast.

  • Rob_654

    Sarah is probably still stinging from the Republican results on who is leading the nomination for the Presidency – even Newt gets a higher percentage (how sad is that for Palin…).


    “And tell Vecchione his services are no longer required, while you’re at it.”

    Vecchione is sort of like the Sarah Palin of Frum Forum bloggers.

    Annie, I agree with you if the topic is simply pointing out that she’s an imbecile and providing the latest examples of her cretinous ramblings as evidence that she’s a dangerous demagogue. But articles like this that try to actually take what she says seriously and respond to her as if she really is important, give her too much credit.

  • midcon

    If you have followers, you must tweet. In order to sustain her value (either financially or politically) she must remain in the public eye and must be listened and paid attention to. Tweeting is free PR. She is just earning a living and remains focused on becoming an icon.

  • Watusie

    There was a great eviceration of her inability to understand the very simple concept of “free speech” in Salon yesterday. Money quote:

    Under Palin’s interpretation of the First Amendment, criticism of public figures threatens free speech, but peaceful protests she doesn’t like should be banned.

    In other news, PPP released a poll from Virginia re presidential matchups last week. Obama would trounce Palin by 19 at 54-35. Her unfavorable rating in that state is 63%! Amazing. I bet Nancy Pelosi could give her a run for her money.

    Goodbye, Miss Wasilla – enjoy your lovely parting gifts.

  • drcme

    I really want to hear what her FF syncophantic posters have to say about this tweet. JennCT, Smarg–comments please!

  • politicalfan

    She will jump in last moment and invoke God. So get ready for it. The criticism is helping her make up her mind.

    Considering the state of our politics. Sure, go ahead and run Palin. At the end of the day does the Presidency really matter if promises can’t be kept? If she tweets and supports the middle class it might be refreshing. If she becomes the party puppet, well she only confirms what some of us think.

    Maybe she could do as well as some of the overreach puppets. I say ‘go for it and make many Republicans day.’ Go rogue!!!

  • Kevin B

    Palin totally misses the point. The WBC wackos are invoking God in the public square. They are (a group of) private citizens exercising their 1st Amendment rights.

    As a gay man, I would prefer that WBC shut up. As an atheist, I don’t care to see the Ten Commandments posted by students on their lockers. I wince when I hear Sarah Palin or Barack Obama invoke their God in public discourse. But, as an American, I believe their rights supercede my discomfort. So long as I am not legally compelled to join them.

  • medinnus

    On the subject of Palin; she’s hurting from the attempt to not pay her attention in Feb. Expect her to try and make up the public exposure ground, using her usual tactics of making any given issue all about her and how much of a victim she is.

    Spotlighting her antics is a two-edged sword; the more press she gets, the more ‘relevance’ she and her minions feels she has. On the other hand, opposition to her also solidifies, and shows everyone but her minions how stupid, vain, mendacious, and hypocritical she – and by extension, her minions – are.

    Except for her minions, she pretty much torpedoed any chance of her getting elected to a national office when she quit her job as Governor; she quit, rather than endure the kind of irrational, unfair, moronic attacks the Right regularly levels against Democratic presidents like Clinton and Obama, the House ‘investigations’ that are showboating for their hardcore base and at the same time waste WH administration time in drafting responses, depositions, etc.

    • politicalfan

      There are many on the right that defend her. People should start cheering her on. If she wins the Presidency so be it. Maybe she will unite the country.

      Better yet, she will actually have to be quiet and solve problems. I am joining team Palin. If the Republicans believe that she is the solution, let them deal with her. Compliments for Palin!!! 35% of the population would actually vote for her. Brilliant. I say bring it on!!!

  • midcon

    As has been discussed previously, most of us believe that she is not shooting for political office. She probably intends to become a (serious) conservative voice patterned after someone like Beck, Levin, Limbaugh, or whoever. She will make a ton of money and perhaps people will look at her as the figurative head of the conservative movement. With Beck beginning to fade, Limbaugh commiting suicide by donut, and the rest overshadowed by Beck and Limbaugh, there is room at the top that she intends to fill.

  • PracticalGirl

    Victim Sarah is having a very difficult time with this issue, and her Tweet is nothing more than her ambivalence and ignorance on simultaneous display.

  • jamesj

    Palin is unbelievably confused once again. She really is a walking, talking embodiment of the problem with extreme dogmatism. Her lack of knowledge in any nuanced subject is apparent with each new statement. Truly sad.

  • anniemargret

    Look, I’m an unabashed card-carrying left of center Democrat. So for me, anytime she makes news it’s bad for Republicans and good for Democrats.

    Republicans supported her for the past three years….she was given a pass that many a man would not have gotten. She’s been a prima donna and still is. Now, Republicans see the down side. They are finally getting serious, and of course, SP is not a serious person. She is simply an embodiment of the cultural rage that permeates about 1/3 of this country. Therefore, regardless of whether or not she runs for high office, she is not leaving.

    I think it is not a good idea to ignore her, pretend she isn’t there. I say fight fire with fire. When she says something stupid, which is the majority of the time, we can point out the stupid. Then let the Republicans figure out how best to squelch her rising negative numbers across the country.

    Remember…Sarah has a HUGE ego…. she feels entitled. I say let’s remind her, and the Republicans she is not entitled. She is just another cog on the wheel.

  • buckre

    I pop up time to time just to see what level the seething rage is at against Palin. You did not disappoint. I’m no huge Palin fan, but the anger projected towards her is becoming a sickness on the left.

    • anniemargret

      Nonsense. She has been thrust into the face of every American since 2007, where her every word, phrase, paragraph or tweet makes headline news.

      There is no such thing as ignoring Sarah Palin in the year 2011 in the USA. Every person has a right to express their opinion on her, good or nil and most Americans say ‘nil.’

      If she has garnered ‘hate’ it is because she, herself has provoked hate, suspicion, anger and prejudice on her way to being crowned Cultural Warrior for Right Wing America.

      What you sow, so shall you reap.

  • Supreme Court Affirms First Amendment Still Rules, Even For Westboro Baptist Church | Neon Tommy

    [...] have not slowed down and we will not." Sarah Palin, who had shown support for the Snyder family, tweeted: "common sense & decency absent as wacko ‘church’ allowed hate msgs spewed@ soldiers’ [...]

  • JonF

    Re: The WBC wackos are invoking God in the public square. They are (a group of) private citizens exercising their 1st Amendment rights.

    Yes to your second sentence. But I have to increasingly doubt if WBC is really engaging in “religion” at all, except in a very Tartuffe-like sort of way (Tartuffe was a disreputable figure in a Moliere comedy who pretended to be a holy man, too busy with prayer to work, who sponged off rich people). Seems like Westboro Baptist is mainly interested in provoking animosity and possibly violence so they can then sue for damages. The whole clan is a bunch of lawyers, well-versed in clever hair-splitting and legalistic pettifoggery. Even calling WBC a “cult” is incorrect, and insulting to true cults. I have more respect for the Moonies (who I think really believe their idiocy) than for the Phelps clan (or “Klan” maybe?).

    • busboy33

      No question the WBC jackholes sully the very concept of “church”.

      But the other option is to start “grading” churches (and thru that religion). This church is good. That church is bad. While it might have some beneficial results (like getting rid of WBC), the inevitable consequences of that are extremely dangerous to the free exercise of religion overall.

      Personally, I’d be fine with WBC being ridden out of town on a rail . . . but if its a choice between that and religious freedom, I’ll tolerate them.

  • jjack

    Watching a thought going through Sarah Palin’s mind is like watching a baby trying to clamber out of a bath and drowning.

    In one sense, I feel sorry for Palin. She is just the latest stooge in the GOP’s “useful idiot” strategery that the Straussians have been using for decades.

  • forkboy1965

    So it’s true: Republicans really are complete hypocrites. They “love” this current Court because it’s filled with good old fashioned Constructionists, except when they don’t.

    Good job Sarah.

  • Houndentenor

    Again, she’s a moron. The only restrictions on religious expression is when churches expect the government to pay for it or promote it. Religion seems to have done just fine in the US without having to be propped up and paid for by the state as it is in much of the world. And they should take note: in the Christian-majority countries where the government supports the church, no one goes to church! Is that what they want?

  • politicalfan


    She is like an over-played catchy jingle. Stays in your head for days but sure gets old after awhile. Go team Palin!!!